Jan. 24, 1975:

Rowena Stevens, founder and operator of the Pocono Playhouse, died at her home in Palm Beach, Florida. She was 69.
Stevens built and opened the playhouse in the summer of 1947 on a piece of land in Mountainhome that was adjacent to the summer home of department store magnate S.S. Kresge.
The shows that first season included “Dear Ruth,” starring Priscilla Pointer and Richard Kiley; “The Butter and Egg Man,” starring J. Richard Jones and Elsie May Gordon; and “End of Summer,” starring Marie Paxton.
With her death, concerns arose about the playhouse’s 1975 season. But on April 12, the questions officially were answered – the show would go on. Jack Lovett took over operation of the playhouse, which was renamed the Rowena Stevens Pocono Playhouse in honor of its late founder.

The 1975 season kicked off June 24 with the musical comedy “Something’s Afoot” starring Pat Carrol, followed by a new play by Jerome Chodorov called “The Culture Caper,” which starred Gabe Bell. On July 15, Van Johnson hit the stage in the comedy “Send Me No Flowers,” followed by the musical “The Boy Friend,” starring Anne Russell.

newspaper clipping

The Scranton Times – July 10, 1975

The second half of the season opened Aug. 5 with Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” featuring Sandy Dennis as Maggie.
Next came two Cole Porter pieces: the musical “Kiss Me Kate,” starring Gaylea Byrne and Jay Stuart, followed by “You Never Know” with Kitty Carlisle, Helen Gallagher, Joe Maisell and Bob Wright. The season closed with Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys,” starring comedians Hans Conried and Lou Jacobi.
A fire on Oct. 2, 2009, destroyed the playhouse.


Theater goers wait to enter the Pocono Playhouse for a performance of “Funny Girl” in June 1967. Linda Gerard, starred as the funny girl Fanny Brice, in this production at the Mountainhome theater. Gerard was Barbra Streisand and Mimi Hines understudy for the Broadway production. Times-Shamrock Archives